The Comenity Bank Practices act was designed in part, to protect consumers from potential abusive practices on the part of collection agencies and some creditors. The problem comes for the consumer in trying to prove that a collector violated the guidelines of the FDCPA. The only method to provide verifiable proof is to record the conversation that takes place. This action leads to the next logical question: is it within the bounds of the law to record a conversation, as well as, would that conversation be admissible as evidence?
It is almost always illegal to record a conversation to which you are not a party to, do not have permission to, and would not in the natural course of events have the opportunity or ability to overhear. This hold true in virtually every state.
In reference to the recording the phone conversations, states fall into one of two categories which are referred to as "one party consent" states and "two party consent" states. Twelve states require the consent of all parties to a conversation to allow for recording. Those states are:
- New Hampshire
If you live in a "one party" state, only one party needs to give permission to record the conversation, and that party can be you.
To add to the confusion, if you reside in a "one party" state and the call is originating from a "two party" state, you must have consent of the other party in order to satisfy the law.
The recording of phone calls is a serious matter and should never be taken lightly. There are criminal penalties for violating these laws in every state with the exception of Vermont.
There are many ways available to record a phone conversation, the easiest however, is still with devices that connect to your landline phones. There are more expensive methods available with cell phones, and some that are free if you use phone services that are connected with your PC or laptop. If it seems like if may be too much trouble to go through, keep in mind that in many states you are allowed to bring suit against collection agencies that violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
If you sue a collector for a violation of the FDCPA you could win an award in civil court for up to $1000.00. There are attorneys that specialize in actions of these types, the area of practice is called Consumer Law.
David Miller is a freelance writer and marketing consultant. He has written extensively about bankruptcy, debt settlement, debt consolidation, credit and credit cards, collection agency abuse, consumer law, credit card defense, FDCPA guidelines and complaints, loan modification scams, and foreclosure.
He contributes regularly to financial and real estate blogs.